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- The Complete Singles Collection by A.R. Kane
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Like everyone else from the era that sported similar taste in music to me, although I really dug large chunks of '69' by A.R. Kane, I loved 'Suicide Kiss' especially and sat agape as John Peel rolled it out one night in his deft casual manner. It's not featured here and I'm longing for its searing wall of feedback that The Field Mice nicked for 'Sensitive’, its thudding workmanlike drum machine and dubbed-out woody, inquisitive bass line with that lovely voice that you can hear today in the singer from TV on the Radio amongst others. No. This is the singles. That was THE song by A.R. Kane. I loved their sleeve designs too, I'd gaze at '69' with the strangely erotic mural and the trailing unusual typeface and feel I was looking at something strange and important.
Trouble is, like many bands I find their overall output a tad patchy and given their pioneering work in genre blending - dub, pop and caustic shoegaze worlds colliding - I'll have to admit listening back to these efforts leaves me irritated and confused yet also amazed at some of the random untamed sonic dustings they give their songs and the general tactile intimacy, if not the naivety of some of the songs not discounting the endearingly rubbish lyrics and odd bout of slushiness. One song may as well be fucking Seal, man.
At an early juncture I'm thinking it's like embryonic sixth form Stone Roses meets Lush on a couple of tunes but I'm still really charmed by most of it, even though portions of it have dated poorly. To be fair, I just don't think there is much to truly criticise of a band that explored a lot of boundaries and kicked them over even if they were a bit slapdash in their overall execution of the "song" - the clunkiness of the early stuff and the wishy-washy nature of some of the latter period can grate but like I said, there's not really any other "indie"band from the period who were quite as bold in their eclecticism and individuality. Later excursions into bliss-pop, experimental soul and jazzier dubbed-out electronics succeed and fail in equal measure, often within the same song.
Yet I say hats off, this is a raw innovation-rock goldmine in parts...check out the burning, bruised and, bludgeoning 'Butterfly Collector" for a bit of assurance! The lovely dub and raw cyclic guitar raaaah of 'Baby Milk Snatcher' off the aforementioned '69' is astonishing too...you'll never hear another song like it. I bet that album was in Tricky's collection.
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